Broadway is the beating heart of New York City’s performing arts culture. The 41 theatres that span Manhattan’s thoroughfare are practically synonymous with the genre.
The American musical is a theatrical form combining music, dance and story. It is often seen as a mimetic prism of contemporary society.
What is a Musical
A musical is a type of theatre production that uses singing and dancing to tell a story. They are often based on existing novels, films, or historical events.
A variety of different types of musicals have been produced over the years, from simple one-act plays to full-fledged productions that are full of music and drama. The Black Crook is considered by some to be the first musical in America, and it’s a classic example of how music, acting, and dancing can work together to create an emotional connection on stage.
The original show ran for more than five hours opening night and boasted hundreds of dancers and spectacular special effects. The show was wildly popular in its day and earned millions of dollars during three decades of touring the United States.
Despite its shortcomings, The Black Crook is considered by many to be the birth of the American musical. Its unique characteristics helped make it a popular show at the time and inspired many similar shows.
A Chorus Line
A Chorus Line is a musical conceived, directed, choreographed and coproduced by Michael Bennett. It opened to rave reviews and ran for fifteen years, winning nine Tony awards and the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
The musical focuses on seventeen dancers auditioning for the chorus of a Broadway show. Their stories are drawn from their life experiences of childhood memories, adolescent awkwardness and loss, as well as their hopes for the future.
But as they open up and begin to speak about themselves, their fears begin to dissipate and they reveal their own personalities. From Cassie, the star who just wants to get back into the chorus, to Paul, a gay Puerto Rican who is searching for a place of dignity.
The story of A Chorus Line is told through a brilliant combination of song, dance and compellingly authentic drama. The music is by Marvin Hamlisch and the lyrics are by Edward Kleban. The book is by James Kirkwood Jr.
Beauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast is a family musical that tells the story of Belle, an intelligent and kindhearted young woman, who enters a castle occupied by a monstrous creature. This story, dating back to the late 18th century, is one of the classics of French fairy tales and was adapted for a stage production by Disney.
The original animated film starring Julie Andrews, Alan Menken and Tim Rice received critical acclaim and eventually persuaded Disney CEO Michael Eisner to green-light a Broadway version of the story. The musical was initially composed by Menken and lyricist Howard Ashman, with book writer Linda Woolverton later adding her own script.
The musical is a vast improvement over the movie, containing many more songs and better developed characters. The relationship between Belle and the Beast is a lot healthier than in the movie. Gaston and Lefou are less annoying and the relationship between Belle and her father is a lot better.
Born Oliveretta Duffy in Charleroi, Pennsylvania, she was raised by her mother until she was 15. She met factory worker Bernard Krug Thomas when she was sixteen and married him on April 1, 1911.
She moved to New York City and began posing for artists. She won a contest called “The Most Beautiful Girl in New York” and posed for several portraits by Howard Chandler Christy.
Olive also worked as a Ziegfeld Follies showgirl and became one of Florenz Ziegfeld’s favorites. Her success with the Follies helped her land a contract with Triangle Pictures, where she became an ingenue and eventually starred in silent films.
She was a beautiful woman, but she had a troubled marriage to Jack Pickford, the younger brother of silent film star Mary Pickford. They had a very volatile relationship. They fought, she lost diamonds and cars, and they had a divorce.